Legislature(1999 - 2000)

02/24/2000 04:40 PM MLV

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 331 - ALASKA NATL GUARD/NAVAL & STATE MILITIA                                                                                
CHAIRMAN MURKOWSKI announced the next order of business as HB 331,                                                              
"An Act relating to payment, allowances, and benefits of members of                                                             
the Alaska National Guard and Alaska Naval Militia in active                                                                    
service; relating to computation of certain benefits for members of                                                             
the Alaska State Militia; and providing for an effective date."                                                                 
Number 0646                                                                                                                     
CAROL CARROLL, Director, Central Office, Administrative Services                                                                
Division, Department of Military & Veterans Affairs, came before                                                                
the committee to present HB 331.  The purpose of the bill is to                                                                 
streamline administrative processes for the department when                                                                     
individuals of the Alaska National Guard and Alaska Naval Militia                                                               
are called to active service for the state.  The bill would change                                                              
the current method of calculating pay and allowances to a simple                                                                
rate of 200 percent of the minimum daily basic pay [Section 1].                                                                 
MS. CARROLL further explained Section 2, of the bill, would change                                                              
the current method of calculating workers' compensation [benefits]                                                              
to the same simple rate of 200 percent of the minimum daily basic                                                               
MS. CARROLL further explained Section 3, of the bill, is complex;                                                               
it is based on HB 332, which deals with members of the Alaska State                                                             
Defense Force/Alaska State Militia.                                                                                             
MS. CARROLL distributed to the committee members a handout                                                                      
entitled, "Calculation of State Active Duty," which illustrates the                                                             
current steps and proposed steps in calculating daily base pay and                                                              
allowances.  She pointed out that one staff person for the                                                                      
department calculates the figures manually - Rick Turcic.  He is                                                                
online to answer any technical questions.  The current method                                                                   
calculates allowances separately, while the proposed method takes                                                               
an individual's base pay and multiplies that figure by 200 percent,                                                             
thereby cutting administrative overhead and burden.  She indicated                                                              
that the change really doesn't impact pay, even though some would                                                               
be paid more and some would be paid less.  It would depend on an                                                                
individual's years of service.                                                                                                  
Number 0934                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE PETE KOTT asked Ms. Carroll, How much less and how                                                               
much more would a member's pay be affected?                                                                                     
MS. CARROLL replied a general, for example, would get $365 a day                                                                
under the bill compared to $337.  She pointed out that most                                                                     
generals are not called to active service, however.  She further                                                                
cited a technical or staff sergeant would get a minimum of $101 a                                                               
day under the bill.                                                                                                             
CRAIG CHRISTENSEN, Colonel, Deputy STARC Commander, Alaska Army                                                                 
National Guard, Department of Military & Veterans Affairs,                                                                      
testified via teleconference from Anchorage.  He interjected and                                                                
stated most colonels have over 20 years of service; most lieutenant                                                             
colonels have over 16 years of service; and most majors have over                                                               
12 years of service.  He further noted the following estimated base                                                             
pay changes under the bill:                                                                                                     
     Colonel - $3 less per day;                                                                                                 
     Lieutenant Colonel - $36 less per day;                                                                                     
     Major - $25 less per day;                                                                                                  
     Captain - $18 less per day;                                                                                                
     First Lieutenant - "a wash";                                                                                               
     Second Lieutenant - $23 more per day;                                                                                      
     Warrant Officer - $20 to $25 less per day, depending on                                                                    
     an individual's range;                                                                                                     
     W2 - "a wash";                                                                                                             
     Junior W1 - $11 more per day;                                                                                              
     First Sergeants - $11 more per day;                                                                                        
     Master Sergeants - $20 less per day;                                                                                       
     Below E8 - state minimum per day of $105.                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE KOTT said he doesn't mind the "guys at the top"                                                                  
getting less.  He doesn't want the "guys at the bottom" to be                                                                   
affected; they are the ones who need it the most.                                                                               
CAROL CARROLL pointed out that her comment earlier meant the                                                                    
proposed changes wouldn't cost the state because they would average                                                             
out, but there may be some individual differences.                                                                              
COLONEL CHRISTENSEN echoed the earlier comments of Ms. Carroll in                                                               
that the administrative burden doesn't seem to make sense when                                                                  
parity can be reached in a more efficient and streamlined manner.                                                               
He asked that the committee members support the bill.  It would                                                                 
help the Alaska National Guard and state provide immediate pay                                                                  
transactions and minimize any errors.                                                                                           
Number 1204                                                                                                                     
CHAIRMAN MURKOWSKI asked Colonel Christensen how other states                                                                   
calculate these benefits.                                                                                                       
COLONEL CHRISTENSEN replied it varies [from state-to-state].  Some                                                              
states do a manual calculation like Alaska, while a number of                                                                   
states, especially the western states, have changed their                                                                       
procedures to what the bill proposes.                                                                                           
Number 1260                                                                                                                     
RICK TURCIC, Administrative Officer, Fort Richardson Office,                                                                    
Administrative Services Division, Department of Military & Veterans                                                             
Affairs, testified via teleconference from Anchorage.  The current                                                              
procedure is extremely work intensive, especially in the case of a                                                              
disaster.  He explained that calculating daily base pay requires                                                                
345 separate calculations because of pay grades and pay raises.  In                                                             
addition, calculating allowances forces him to utilize the                                                                      
Department of Defense's Web Site in order to get current figures;                                                               
they change periodically.  He also has to factor marital status and                                                             
number of dependents, which all affect what figure to use.  The                                                                 
proposed system, therefore, would save the department a lot of work                                                             
and would minimize the possibility of any errors.                                                                               
Ed KNOEBEL testified via teleconference from Glennallen.  He                                                                    
suggested including language to indicate whichever calculation is                                                               
higher, but he's not so sure that would work.                                                                                   
CHAIRMAN MURKOWSKI closed the meeting to public testimony.                                                                      
CHAIRMAN MURKOWSKI announced that the bill would be held over in                                                                
order to incorporate provisions from HB 332.                                                                                    

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